• Dov Lipman

Tikkun Olam's Greatest Example; Innovation: Africa

As Israel approaches its 70th birthday, Israelis and supporters of Israel can be proud of the contributions that Israel is making to the world.

While most think about technologies such as Waze, Mobileye and computer chips when discussing Israel’s contributions, the reality is that Israel’s efforts go much deeper — to the most basic of humanitarian needs. Israel has truly assumed its biblical mission to be a “light unto the nations.”

One of the greatest examples of Israel fulfilling this role is an organization called Innovation: Africa.

Twenty years ago, an Israeli woman named Sivan Ya’ari traveled to Africa. When she saw the degree of poverty in remote villages there, she decided to do something about it.

Having now traveled to these villages myself, I can say with certainty that if you have not visited remote African villages, you have not witnessed the meaning of “poverty.” Some 620 million people in Africa live without electricity, and more than 300 million do not have access to clean water.

Lack of electricity in medical centers means that doctors and staff don’t have refrigerators for medications and vaccines. It also means that women who give birth at night must do so in the dark, or — if they can afford it — using a kerosene lamp. And most significantly, many qualified doctors won’t work in a medical center without electricity — leaving these villages with sub-par medical treatment.

And the problems don’t end there.

Students in schools without electricity are limited to studying in daylight hours — and, of course, have no access to computers. As a result, the best teachers and administrators won’t work in these schools, and the students don’t receive a meaningful education. Lack of access to clean water means that women and children must also spend most of their days searching for water and carrying it back to their villages, often having to walk for hours. And the water that they do find is usually horrifically polluted.

Thanks to Innovation: Africa, solar panels are installed on the rooftops of schools and medical centers, and solar-powered pumps draw water from underground aquifers and bring water to the center of villages. Some 350,000 children have been vaccinated thanks to the organization’s efforts, and many villages are flourishing with education, health and commerce — especially after the introduction of Israeli drip irrigation.

Aside from the inherent good in Innovation: Africa’s work, it also serves to remind or educate people all around the world about what Israel truly is, the good work that it does, and how much greater it can be.

Helping people with Israeli technology demonstrates, once again, that Israel not only stands for human rights, but is leading the world in fighting for them.

You can read the full story on the Algemeiner

Photo Credit: Innovation Africa


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